Bristol Federation of Teachers

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For-Profit Education and the Origin of Common Core and SBAC — February 28, 2014

For-Profit Education and the Origin of Common Core and SBAC

‘Cashing in on Kids’ site exposes for-profit education

Cashing on on Kids photoThe AFT and In the Public Interest have launched a new website, “Cashing in on Kids“—a one-stop shop for the facts about for-profit education in America. The site profiles five for-profit charter school operators: K12 Inc., Imagine Schools, White Hat Management, Academica and Charter Schools USA. It identifies several issues that need to be addressed in charter school policy, including public control, equity, transparency and accountability. “For-profit charter schools that operate in the dark without basic public transparency and without strong public control too often put their bottom line ahead of the public interest and high-quality public education,” says ITPI Executive Director Donald Cohen. Adds AFT President Randi Weingarten: “We believe much more oversight is needed to protect students and taxpayers, but the information on this website is a means for others to see the facts and arrive at their own conclusions.”

Full article from Truthout

Teacher Evaluation Changes Imminent; Common Core Under Fire — January 29, 2014

Teacher Evaluation Changes Imminent; Common Core Under Fire

Melodie Peters, president of AFT Connecticut, made the following remarks on the adoption today by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) of recommendations by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Senate President Donald Williams, and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey to amend the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation:
“The governor and legislative leaders have shown they are hearing the voices of educators and parents who have been speaking out for their students and children in our state’s schools. We have been calling for just the sort of course correction recommended yesterday to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC).
“Our political leaders have recognized that teachers, classroom support staff and administrators need greater flexibility in adapting to changes in the way we are now educating our state’s students. As the governor and legislative leaders said in their joint letter:
“‘Too much change all at once impedes teachers’ ability to be effective in their classrooms. Teachers and administrators understandably are feeling burdened and together we must take action to relieve this pressure.’
 
“We couldn’t agree more. And we believe that the options recommended and adopted today by PEAC will empower teachers to be more effective in the classroom and enable administrators to be more efficient in assessing their performance.
“Let’s be clear; we have not been saying ‘no’ to student assessments or teacher evaluations. We have been saying we need a moratorium on high stakes consequences during the transition to a new approach to teaching our children in order to get the implementation right.
“All our students deserve a quality education; their opportunities to learn should not be compromised during this transition. And our teachers need appropriate training, professional development and to be engaged in developing classroom curriculum during this time
“With PEAC’s approval of new flexibility options, our state’s children will be the primary beneficiaries of this course correction.”

 

Governor Malloy recommending changes to teacher evaluations…

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-common-core-push-back-0128-20140128,0,4058443.story

20 minute video news conference of Governor’s announcement on teacher evaluation changes…

http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=9863

An article with reaction from teachers and union leaders…

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-peac-evals-teachers-0130-20140129,0,5394563.story

Short article with video from CBS affiliate WFSB…

http://www.wfsb.com/story/24575938/teachers-looking-for-more-flexibility-to-postpone-new-evaluation

Short article with video from ABC affiliate WTNH

http://wtnh.com/2014/01/29/announcement-on-education-reform/

Video of Republican legislators calling for halt to Common Core implementation…

http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=9861

Update and Action Needed for Reading Test Requirement — March 20, 2013

Update and Action Needed for Reading Test Requirement

All BFT members, especially K-3 and SPED, are urged to contact their legislators on this vital matter. Please click here or use the CONTACT LEGISLATORS link above to email your local state representatives.

This bill, SB 1097, must pass the Education Committee by April 3 in order to go to the General Assembly. Contact members of the Education Committee by clicking here.

Language that would eliminate the reading test component contained in SB 458 (AKA the Education Reform Bill) that passed last May is now part of SB 1097 “An Act Concerning Revisions to the Education Reform Act of 2012.” This bill was created with input from the AFT CT and CEA.

The language pertaining to the testing issue is reprinted below. Note that bracketed language is to be deleted and underlined language is to be added (Note: if you follow the link to the General Assembly web site, the language to be deleted is in red, and the language to be added is in blue).

Sec. 14. Section 10-145r of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):

For the school year commencing July 1, 2014, and each school year thereafter, [the] each local or regional board of education [for all certified employees who hold] that employs a certified individual who holds an initial, provisional or professional educator certificate with an early childhood nursery through grade three or an elementary endorsement [and are employed] in a position requiring such an endorsement in kindergarten to grade three, inclusive, shall require [all such certified employees to take the practice version of] any such employee to take a survey on reading instruction, developed by the Department of Education and based on the reading instruction examination approved by the State Board of Education on April 1, 2009. [Each local and regional board of education shall annually report the results of such practice examination to the Department of Education.] Such survey shall be completed anonymously by such employee and administered at no financial cost to such employee. The results of such survey shall be aggregated at the grade, school and district level and used in the provision of professional development in scientifically-based reading research and instruction, pursuant to section 10-148b. Such results shall not be considered part of teacher performance evaluations conducted pursuant to section 10-151b, as amended by this act, and shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200.

The entire bill can be found here.

The Middle School Program: Different Perspectives — December 4, 2012

The Middle School Program: Different Perspectives

Today the Bristol Press published a glowing article reviewing the new Middle School program. Click here to read. As every middle school teacher in Bristol is aware, the new problem is not without problems.

Below is a link to a document outlining concerns with the new middle school program, complied by BFT leaders based on member input. The BFT has had two meetings (in September and November) with Central Office administrators attempting to alleviate the difficulties teachers are experiencing at the middle school level. We will continue to bring these issues forward until the problems are resolved.

MiddleSchoolConcernsRevised3

Middle School Update — November 27, 2012

Middle School Update

Over the next several weeks, members of the District Leadership Team (AKA Central Office administrators) will be visiting CHMS, NEMS, GH, and WB to discuss the new middle school program with teachers. This is a direct outcome from yesterday’s BFT meeting with Central Office and is a unique opportunity for teachers to openly converse about the new program. Teachers are encouraged to be as specific as possible with what works, what doesn’t, and what is still unclear. These conversations are expected to lead to future modifications of the program, making it more productive for students and teachers alike.

BFT and Central Office Meet to Discuss Middle School Issues — November 26, 2012

BFT and Central Office Meet to Discuss Middle School Issues

Today, BFT officers and Central Office administrators met to discuss issues related to the new middle school program. Most of the discussion centered around the REACH period, but other aspects that were discussed included the student enrollment in Core and Encore classes, and how each of the schools with a middle school program is experiencing varying levels of success or frustration. The duty load at the K-8’s was also part of the discussion.

More details will follow, and the BFT will continue to have ongoing formal and informal discussions with Central Office and building administrators throughout the year.

Stewards Needed — October 25, 2012

Stewards Needed

A number of schools are without their full compliment of stewards. To this end the BFT is seeking capable and interested teachers willing to volunteer their time and efforts toward representing their schools. High Schools are allowed 4 stewards each, Middle Schools and K-8’s are allowed 3 stewards, and Elementary schools are each represented by 2 stewards. Interested parties should contact BFT president Dave Hayes.

SCHOOLS IN NEED OF ADDITIONAL STEWARDS

Bristol Eastern High School – needs 1 steward
Chippens Hill Middle School – needs 2 stewards
Northeast MIddle School – needs 1 steward
West Bristol – needs 2 stewards
Ivy Drive – needs 1 steward
Edgewood – needs 1 steward
BFT and Central Office Meet to Discuss K-8 Concerns — September 23, 2012

BFT and Central Office Meet to Discuss K-8 Concerns

On Thursday several BFT officers will meet with Central Office administrators to discuss issues at the K-8’s relating to extra duties, late buses, and impediments upon prep time. Teachers at both of the new K-8’s have gone above and beyond in helping to get the year off to a good start for students, and their professionalism is to be commended. However, as we enter the fourth week of school, some problems have persisted. The BFT will bring these issues to the attention of district leaders and work toward finding workable solutions for all involved.

BFT Constitutional Revisions Approved — September 14, 2012
BFT Votes: Constitutional Changes and Elections — September 6, 2012

BFT Votes: Constitutional Changes and Elections

The BFT will be undertaking two important votes over the next few weeks. The first is to approve changes to the BFT constitution, the primary purpose of which is to allow representation at the new K-8 schools. These changes were unanimously approved by the Executive Council (all officers and stewards) at our regular meeting on September 4.

The second vote is for the election of building stewards and grade level VP’s. Here are the dates and links to vital documents.

Monday, September 10 – Informational meeting presented by the BFT committee that revised the constitution. BEHS auditorium starting at 4:00 PM

Wednesday, September 12 – Ratification vote conducted at each school. Here are the proposed language changes to the 2012 BFT Constitution. For comparison, here is the full, current version approved in 2001.

Wednesday, September 19 – Elections held at each building for stewards and grade level VP’s. Each high school is allotted 4 stewards. Middle Schools and K-8’s are allotted 3 stewards each. Elementary schools are allotted 2 stewards per building. In addition, each grade level (HS, MS, pK-5) is represented by a VP.